Kona Community Hospital Bariatric Surgery Program Achieves National Accreditation

Patients on Hawaii Island seeking surgical treatment for severe obesity and its related conditions can look to Kona Community Hospital mbsaqip-seal-jpg-fb(KCH) as a high-quality choice for receiving treatment in a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care.

Dr. Nathan Tomita, DO, MPH, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at Kona Community Hospital today announced its bariatric surgical center has been accredited as a Low Acuity Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The Kona Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center, a collaboration between KCH and Ali`i Health Center, is one of only four centers in Hawaii to have attained this level of accreditation. It is also the only center on Hawaii Island that offers a comprehensive weight loss program including surgical weight loss procedures.

The MBSAQIP Standards ensure that bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. The accredited center offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for their severely obese patients.

“I’m very proud of our entire team,” said bariatric surgeon Nathan Tomita. “Their non-stop commitment to the bariatric weight loss program and to high-quality patient care and successful outcomes made this achievement possible.”

That commitment to quality care begins with appropriately trained staff and the leadership surgeons who participate in meetings throughout the year to oversee care coordination and outcomes. They seek continuous improvement to enhance the structure, process and outcomes of the program.

To earn the MBSAQIP designation, Kona Community Hospital met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The standards are specified in the MBSAQIP Resources for Optimal Care of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Patient 2014, published by the ACS and ASMBS.

“We’re not only about the surgical aspect of the KCH bariatric program,” said Tomita. “Patients undergo an extensive evaluation including an educational component, meeting with the program’s nutritionist, psychologist, and cardiologist, if needed. We work with each patient, and outline an individualized plan to make and meet healthy goals on their weight-loss journey.”

The KCH program underwent an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon, who reviewed the center’s structure, process, and clinical outcomes data. Centers are awarded a specific designation depending on how many patients it serves annually, the type of procedures it provides, and whether it provides care for patients under age 18.

“Earning this designation is a big accomplishment for the entire team,” said Jay Kreuzer, KCH CEO. “Accredited centers are the best place for patients to receive the level of care that will ensure the best outcomes, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer that to our community.”

In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the numbers are increasing. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.*

For more information about the Kona Community Hospital comprehensive metabolic and bariatric weight loss program, visit their website at kch.hhsc.org/services/metabolic-bariatric-surgery-center/.


*Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2004;292(14):1724-1737. DOI:10.1001/jama.292.14.1724.

Employee Earns Case Manager Certificate

Kona Community Hospital is proud of employee, Tonia Obregon, RN. Tonia recently became tonia-obregon-rn-ccm-11-10-16credentialed as a Certified Case Manager (CCM).

Earlier this year, Tonia began the 6-month study period for the CCM test. The nationally-recognized certificate is no small achievement. To take the test, one must be a registered nurse and have five years’ experience as a case manager. On October 19th, Tonia received word that she had passed the grueling 3-hour exam!

Congratulations, Tonia Obregon, RN, CCM!! Your dedication and commitment to our patients is appreciated.

KCH employees wear pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness month

On Friday, October 7, Kona Community Hospital employees dressed in pkch-pink-shirt-day-1ink attire to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. It affects one of every eight American women.

Wearing pink in October has gained popularity as support for breast cancer awareness and to encourage early detection.

“This annual event gives employees and hospital staff an opportunity to raise awareness of breast cancer, which affects so many people,” said Judy Donovan, KCH Marketing Director.


Kona Hospital Auxiliary Awards $12,000 in Nursing Scholarships

On Saturday, August 27, the Kona Community Hospital Auxiliary awarded $12,0nursing-scholarship-recipients00 in nursing scholarships to six local students seeking to pursue nursing careers.

The Kona Community Hospital Auxiliary nursing scholarship program annually awards up to $2000 to each recipient.  This year’s scholarship recipients included Melissa Moats, Michelle Proue, Jacqueline Sanders, Joy Woods, Ellie Kalawe and Shaylynn Fujii.

To be considered for the Auxiliary’s nursing scholarship, applicants must submit a resume, school transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a personal essay on why nursing was chosen as a career.  In addition, students must already be accepted to a nursing school. 

The Auxiliary’s goal is to provide financial assistance to nursing students, and to aide Kona Community Hospital in meeting its future nursing needs.

The KCH Auxiliary is the largest volunteer organization at the hospital. There are numerous volunteer opportunities within the hospital. They also operate the hospital Gift Shop. Monies for nursing scholarships are generated by the Auxiliary’s Friday Bake Sale, their annual Art at the Pavilion event as well as other activities.  To be a volunteer or to donate to the nursing scholarship fund, contact the Auxiliary office at 322-4577 or visit the KCH Auxiliary website.